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“Difficult situations bring out the best in him”
Australia national selector John Inverarity has announced that stand-in ODI captain George Bailey is highly likely to be included in the Ashes squad after his spectacular performances with the bat in the national team’s ongoing limited overs tour of India.
Bailey has scored 318 runs in four ODIs against India at an incredible average of 106.
Thanks to his outstanding knocks in India, Bailey has managed to drastically increase his ODI career average, which now stands at 53.03.
“His performance in ODI cricket has been outstanding,” Inverarity said. “Since he started 18 months ago he’s been our best-performed one-day player in terms of average, aggregate runs, strike-rate. He’s just been outstanding, so it’s a thrill to see him coming on and playing so well.
“When we look at a player we look at four things: their batting, their bowling, their fielding, and their character or what else they bring to the team. George certainly brings a great deal in that character category to the team. He’s a very mature, calm young man. I think you’ll have seen [that] in his batting performances. Difficult situations bring out the best in him.”
Despite his blossoming ODI career, Bailey has never had much success in first-class cricket, especially last season where he only managed to amass 256 Sheffield Shield runs at a dreary average of 18.28.
However, Inverarity noted that the national selectors are starting to look beyond players’ performances in “[Sheffield] Shield and Australia A games”.
“The general feeling is we thought George has gone past that,” Inverarity said. “That’s more development, and he’s firmly entrenched as an Australian player. All performances are important, but we’re not going to select the Ashes team just on the performances of that round of [Sheffield] Shield and Australia A games. Our minds are well made up before that.
“We’re very well advanced on our planning. Almost all the places we know who is going to be in the Test team. It’s probably the last one or two places [that are not yet settled], that’s all. As long as we’re not plagued by further injuries, we’re pretty settled with where we’re at. I think we’re more settled and at a better place now than we were when we went away for the Ashes in England.”
Inverarity also took the opportunity to talk about Australia opening batsman David Warner, stating that the flamboyant opener has benefited from playing first-class cricket instead of travelling to India with the national team.
“We were thrilled to bits with three of his last four innings, where he scored very good hundreds,” Inverarity said. “I think David’s learned a lot during the past five or six months. His form during the Ryobi was outstanding and we’re looking forward to him taking that forward. It’s been very good for David to be settled in his home bed for some months. He’s had a real chance to settle down and I think it’s been in his interests to do so.”